Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Unearned Compliment

"You're a really good sub.  You should sub more often."

A student said that to me during 5th period.  It troubled me.  A lot.

Today I covered Earth Science.  They had some bookwork to do.  I stood at the front of the room and watched them.  I wasn't doing much as there wasn't much to do.  They talked, but they also appeared to do some work.

I wasn't looking forward to the Earth Science classes.  The students who end up in these classes aren't very academically motivated.  (The students who passed middle school science went directly into biology.)  So, I was pleasantly surprised when they actually got out materials and got to work.

I noticed a couple of them had empty desks.  I went over, and I looked meaningfully at one boy.  Without my having to say a word, he got out a book, paper, and pencil.  (This is a very good thing.  Some students will just look at me and say, "What?" when I appear in front of them, unaware that they should be doing anything.)

But still, I wasn't doing anything that merited a compliment.

I thanked the boy for the kind words.  I didn't know what else to do.  And I continued to watch the class.  They didn't get up to too much mischief.  They appeared to finish the assignment.

I get the feeling that I missed something.  I wonder what it was.


  1. Sometimes it's the aura you project. Have you seen some of the sub around? Some are mean. Some are lost. Some are scared. If students get a decent sub and don't have a chaotic or stressful class, they appreciate it.

  2. I was in a first grade class recently and they were asking me what grades I'd taught. I told them all of the grades. A little later, I heard one child telling another one that I must be a really good teacher because they let me teach ALL the grades and their teacher only taught one. You gotta love the kid point of view sometimes!


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